Even in the most clear-cut situations, collecting workers’ compensation can be a difficult process. Insurance can dispute the validity of your claim. When this happens, you must appeal to a board, and sometimes, you must go even higher than that.
These complications can compound when you are working from home. It can be much easier for an insurance company to claim you don’t deserve your benefits, and it can be much harder to prove that you do.
Here are some general standards that can help validate a work-from-home compensation claim.
The Injury Was Directly Related to Your Job
If you were injured as a direct result of your duties, you should be eligible for workers’ comp. Imagine your printer is in the other room. You step up from your desk to get a document, and you slip on the dog’s water dish, injuring yourself in the fall.
Many insurers will try to claim this is your fault. They will blame you for not looking where you were going, being irresponsible with where you placed the dish, etc.
Technically, however, you should be able to collect benefits in this situation. You were up and walking only because of work, therefore, this is a work-related injury.
The Injury Was Your Employer’s Fault
In most situations, your employer should provide the necessary equipment to do your job. Many at-home workers are expected to set this equipment up themselves. If that equipment is faulty and causes an injury, your employer can be held liable for this injury. You should be able to collect workers’ comp in this scenario.
Even when a situation appears to be your fault, blame could still rest on your employer. Let’s say your office is a complete mess. You have papers piled up and equipment on top of those papers. This is a recipe for an injury, and if you do get hurt, the insurance company will probably blame you.
On the other hand, if your employer did not provide proper storage for you to do your job, they could be held responsible for this injury.
The Injury Falls Under the Doctrine of Personal Comfort
By law, employers are protected when they are on the job, but they are also protected in times of “personal comfort.” They can make trips to the bathroom, go grab a cup of coffee, and even take a smoke break. Workers’ compensation protects them even during these small breaks.
The same is true when you work from home. Even if you stepped outside to get a minute of fresh air, you are still on the clock, and you can still be compensated if you are injured.
Be careful when claiming you are covered by the doctrine of personal comfort. For instance, if you take the dog out for a 15-minute walk, your claim may not count.
How to Prove Your Work-from-Home Injury Deserves Workers’ Comp
In any workers’ comp claim, documentation is your best friend. This fact is particularly true when you’ve been hurt at home.
Take pictures of everything: your workstation, the location of the accident, any surrounding objects that contributed to the accident, and so on.
From there, keep your medical records organized. Make sure that they have dates consistent with the time of your injury. If you needed to call emergency services, take a screenshot of your call log.
Finally, make sure to talk with an attorney. At the best of times, insurance companies are reluctant to pay workers’ comp, and they often use any excuse to deny your claim. These denials are much easier when you work from home, as they can claim the accident was your fault.
If you’ve been hurt in a work-from-home injury, reach out to our firm for help. You can call us today at (916) 571-1550, or you can contact us online.